Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry

Article Title

The Witness


I want to tell you a story. Why? I don't know. Perhaps so that you will understand. Perhaps so that I will understand. It is a story of the present. It is a story that allows a little comprehension of the past. And it is a story that reveals glimpses of the future.

First this preface:

For years I have been drawn as if by a magnet to the subject of the Holocaust. I have read much about it, spoken to some who survived it, seen films on it, visited museums concerned with it. I have seen the faces of those who went through it. I have listened to their thoughts, their perceptions, and their approaches to life and existence in the face of it. I have seen their eyes. I have been drawn into their eyes, to their minds and hearts and souls. I have lived inside them, and they have lived inside me. I have been swept into the whirlwind made up of the cries, the sighs . . . the eyes of the six million.

And yet , as much and as hard as I have tried, I cannot understand it. I cannot comprehend it. It is as a vague, illusory, fleeting wind, whirling, Whipping and moaning above me, which I can never really touch or see. It is as a dream, a mythology, a story which I can never really believe. Their reality is not my reality; it is only my imagination. And I stand alone, staring into their eyes, staring out from their eyes, trying to understand.

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